Locals Share Sandy Concerns at Community Forum

Many people impacted by the storm packed into Bellmore's VFW hall to get some answers regarding storm damage and potentially elevating their homes due to Hurricane Sandy.

Areas represented in the crowd included Bellmore, Merrick, Wantagh and Freeport. Aside from Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, who hosted the program, representatives from FEMA, the Town of Hempstead and National Grid were on hand to answer questions.

"When I was in Bellmore, Merrick and Wantagh over the last number of weeks people told me that, since they had reiterative flooding issues, this is at least the second time that have had substantial damage, and they had some questions," Denenberg said. 

John Rottkamp, the commissioner of the TOH Buildings Department, told attendees  that all permit fees have been waived during this time of struggle. He also said that Town representatives have driven through damaged areas and dispersed forms that explained exactly how to proceed.

"Obviously, as we got further south, the damage was worse," he said. "Once you go south of Merrick Road, almost every home is affected. There's approximately 61,000 homes south of Merrick Road in the Town of Hempstead." 

Many on hand had questions regarding the Town's inspections and how to go about getting money to potentially elevate their home. 

"If you have flood insurance, you are allowed to get $30,000, up to $250,000, for the elevation of your home," Rebecca Furst, the Town's floodplain manager, said. "In order for you to obtain that money, the Town of Hempstead must perform a damage assessment to your house, saying that it's been substantially damaged."

Several locals also voiced displeasure with FEMA, as they have been denied aid to help with storm expenses.

Rosemarie Cappola-Smith said that her home in Merrick was deemed unlivable after it flooded for the third time. 

"I got a denial the next day," she said. "I was told my flood insurance would provide my living expenses." 

Cappola-Smith now has to pay for her mortgage, as well as a place to rent, while she continues to seek answers, she said.

Have you been denied aid and suffered substantial storm damage? Tell us in the comments below.

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Joe November 27, 2012 at 06:28 PM
In theory a very good idea, but the cost (like putting wires underground) would be astronomical. I agree all new housing needs to meet better flood/storm standards. I also feel the TOH/County should have taken this opportunity to eliminate those house barges in Seaford, nothing more then a shanty town on the water and home owners that couldn’t afford to deal with the expense to put them back.
Joe November 27, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I would also add, they need to improve the code for these home heating oil tanks, biggest source of pollution after the storm.
Lorraine DeVita November 27, 2012 at 08:45 PM
While i dont consider the house boats "shanty" town like, I do feel there should be tighter restrictions and codes for them including as you stated thier home heating oil. storage solution. . Also some form of insurance that covers issues like the ones that occured should be MANDATORY for both the Marina and the House boat owners an umbrella insurance or even self insurance if availabile . . I am at a loss as to why the TOWN has to incurr the cost of moving these homes by Crane even though i fully understand that they needed to be moved as quickly as possible to restore order to the taxpayers who were effected by their new exceedingly Large "lawn ornaments". The House boat owners should be placed on a zero interest repayment plan to offset the costs to the county based on ablity to pay.As WELL the Marina owner where the house boats were docked should be held partially responsible and should NOT be held harmless. While these owners dont pay property taxes the Marina does and the Marina should be held accountable to insure precautions are made ie higher buk head walls,longer mooring poles, to help avoid this type of problem in the future.
Lorraine DeVita November 27, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Perhpas homes within a certain footage from the water should not be allowed to have heating OIL and house boats as well should be natural gas only eliminating PART of the " oil" issue in the future. As well ALL mechanicals should be located WELL above ground level, second story if one exisits. ALL of the costs should be paid by the homeowner with both grants and zero interest loans available from the feds to insure they have the funding they need without going bankrupt.
carol pascale November 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Oil tanks for the house barges are contained in the bilges.The oil spilled came from regular homes without basements.Those homes are scattered throughout town and they are older and usually smaller.The marina owner accepts rents from the house barges yet did not want to remove said barges or allow them back on his property.Funny ,Treasure Island accepted they were responsible for the boats that got away as did all the other marinas in the area they retrieved them as they accept payment for storing them.


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